Jul 192013
In a bid to make the decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman more reader-friendly, the British Embassy on Friday launched a project that will improve the writing skills of the agency’s lawyers.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said the Rapid Assessment and Seminar on Case Analysis and Legal Draftsmanship (RASCALD) project aims to make the lawyers’ writing style “lucid, concise and logical.”

“While it is difficult to change the writing style of everyone. But perhaps what we have in mind when we say writing style is that we should be lucid, concise and logical while accenting early on what the case is about,” she said.

The RASCALD initiative will run from August 2013 to February 2014 and will concentrate on how the agency’s lawyers write decisions.

Some 280 Ombudsman prosecutors and field lawyers will undergo the seven-month RASCALD enhancement classes for skills development on deciding cases and drafting action papers.

Zero case backlog
According to a press release by the Office of the Ombudsman, the RASCALD initiative projects an increase in case disposition rate by 25 percent by end-2015 and eventually, a zero case backlog by 2018.

“We are happy to support the RASCALD project, helping to deliver the top priorities of achieving a full disposition of high profile cases and zero backlog by 2018,” British Embassy Charge d’ Affaires Trevor Lewis said in his message of support.

Morales thanked the British Embassy for the grant, noting that the benefits of the seminars will not only be short term, but rather would translate to the overall efficiency of the agency.

“[This grant will help] in the attainment of our measurable goal of the zero backlog of cases by 2018, as well as the prompt resolution of all cases,” she said

“The project will intensively train Ombudsman lawyers in the areas of case analysis and legal draftsmanship,” explained Dennis Russel Baldago, director of the Project Management Bureau.

Experts wanted

While the grant money will come from the British Embassy, Baldago explained to reporters that the Ombudsman will be in charge of looking for the necessary experts to conduct the seminars.

“So far, we’re looking at the Philippine Judicial Academy of the Philippines. They will recommend some experts to us,” Baldago said.

Meanwhile, noting that swift justice should be “both judicious and effective,” Morales said that the grant money will also go toward the publication of a Stylebook, a guide for lawyers and prosecutors that will help in streamlining decisions.

Initial assessment by the Ombudsman also pointed out that case backlogs can come from bottlenecks in the paperwork.

“In the course of office operations, certain areas need improvement, including grammar, variance of style, typographical errors, as well as erroneous jurisprudence,” Morales said.  — KBK, GMA News

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